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SAB: SAB music for true basses

Sorry for the delay -- responses are listed below:

Cambiata Press has an entire series of SAB music (both sacred and secular)
that you might be interested in. And when you are ready to graduate to
four-part, they have a great series for a choir that has more girls than
guys. It is voiced SSAB. If you would like to see some of either, go to
Cambiata Press and sign the guestbook at the bottom of the homepage. In the
“remarks” box tell them what you want and they’ll get it out to you.

While you are there, take a moment to look around. You may view and hear
music online. Their specialty is producing music for adolescent changing
voices. (However, the series I’m talking about is for regular changed voice

I found a book called "the SAB choir goes for Baroque." It is compiled and
edited by Paul Thomas, and published by CPH (Concordia Publishing House) of
Saint Louis, MO. I haven't found a web page for them, but your local dealer
should be able to order it.

Virtually all the pieces were originally arranged for three-part, so the
bass lines are truly contrapuntal. Thomas also rearranges a few of the
pieces as well, in some cases, simply by trnasposing them down. In other
cases, he gives what was originally the tenor line to the altos. Composers
include Telemann, Shutz, hadel, Bach, Monteverdi, and so on.

Michael Hennigan's short cantata, House on the Hill. is a wonderful but
difficult piece with a rather daunting baritone solo which calls for a
falsetto high A (?). I believe it is published (or was) by Walton. I'm
certain that my Chamber Singers could do it justice, however. I can't find
my copy right now but I stumble onto it when least expected. The texts are
poems by a prominent modern American poet who's name would illicit an "Ah
Hah! that's the one, of course"

With a Voice of Singing, SAB, Martin Shaw, G. Schirmer. bass part lies
well and never goes above middle C.

Yes, there IS some good, well-written SAB music. My problem is often, as
you say, that the bass line is an uninteresting go-nowhere baritone line for
young singers of limited range, OR, that the alto part is such a
wide-ranging tangle of tenor/alto material as to be difficult for the voice.
If you comb the catalogs and the music files of large dealers, good stuff
does turn up, though.
Another idea I have used is to look at some of the classic SSA
literature * the Michael Haydn Vespers, say, or other such. Many times, the
alto line is actually the same as the instrumental bass line, sung up an
octave. If you transpose the music down a step, and give the alto line to
your young bassi, in their octave, it works out quite well. Some editing
involved, of course, and sometimes translation too. There is a lot of
literature available that way.

I'm working on Canon of Praise (SAB) Pachabel/arr. Hopson, and Praise the
Lord (SAB) Handel/arr. Hopson, both have a range from about c-middle c
(which is still a bit high for some), but the tessitura isn't too high,
mostly c-g(below middle c). Hope this helps!

On the hard side, and not for beginners, are the Haydn psalm settings, and
of course, also those virtuoso Buxtehude trios for SSB (e.g., 'Cantate
Domino'). Good luck.

MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE & JOHN by John Biggs. (SAB + piano, 4min). [Three part
canonic] May be a bit advanced for your group, but is a rich piece. Vocal
ranges: (low to high) Sop. = C# - Ab / Alto = F# - Bb / Bass = B - Eb. See
listed at:

Ave Regina Caelorum
in my site
Giuseppe Mignemi
via G. Grasso, 20
95013 Fiumefreddo di Sicilia (CT) - Italy

I have had some similar problems, particularly in years when the basses I
was given had pitch matching problems. I had the whole chorus start off in
unison (Handel, "Where'er You Walk"), and we did Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh
Ride" in the SAB arrangement. There are also some piece in four parts which
are lightly masked rounds that simplified learning and tuning up.

The standard "Do you Hear what I hear" (the arrangers I forget, though
definitely popular) comes in a very nice SAB version. Good for X-mas. Also
any thing by Natalie Sleeth comes SAB, in fact, I believe her "Jazz Gloria"
is SAB and great fun. Post a compilation.

*ALL OF GOD'S CHILDREN (3 voice jubilee song) The piano part is a rhythmic
delight. Young people enjoy singing "All of God's Children," and audiences
favor such pieces on choral programs. The text is:

I got a robe! You got a robe!

All of God's children got a robe!

When I get to heaven, gonna put on my robe and gonna walk all over God's

I got a crown!

You got a crown!

All of God's children got a crown!

When I get to heaven, gonna put on my crown and gonna walk all over God's

Everybody talkin' 'bout heaven ain't goin' there.

I got a song! You got a song! All of God's children got a song!

When I get to heaven, gonna sing out my song and gonna walk all over God's

Everybody talkin' 'bout heaven ain't goin' there. Gonna fly all over God's

Vocal ranges are: Voice 1, Db1 - c2; Voice 2, b-flat-- c2; Voice 3 (T or B),
f - D1; (1:35) EASY

Try "I Dream a World" by Andre Thomas, words by Langston Hughes. Normally
I would do it in SATB, but last year I too had strong girls but very new and
young boys. I used the SAB arrangement and they loved it. We also used the
opportunity to teach about Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, and read some
more Hughes poetry. Good luck!

I have a brand new edition of a work for SAB and strings by Padre
Martini, "Domini Fili", which should be published this coming January by
Hinshaw Music Inc. (HMC-1967).

One that I know is a setting of the "Agnus Dei" text by Giovanni Pergolesi
and edited by (James?) McCray. It was published by Mark Foster and the
number is MF 220. I recently remember someone saying that they couldn't
find Mark Foster on the web, however. Someone must have bought their
catalog. Perhaps your music store will know. You might also check the CPDL
site. There may be an edition there.

There are a couple of others that I have index cards on, some are
arrangements of SATB works, and I am not sure of the tessitura for the

"Amen, Praise and Honor" by Georg Telemann, ed. by Bruce Hoagland.
Unfortunately, it too was published by Mark Foster. The number is MF 180.

"Blessing, Glory and Wisdom" by J.S. Bach, it was edited and arranged by
Walter Ehret and published by Elkan-Vogel (Theodore Presser). The number is

"Ezekiel Saw The Wheel" - arr. Gilbert Martin, Hinshaw Music, #HMC-473

"Gloria" from the "Heiligmesse" - F.J. Haydn, Walton Music Corp., #4004

"God Now Dwells Among Us" (Verbum Caro Factum Est) - Hans Leo Hassler, Mark
Foster, #MF129

"God of Love, We Look to Thee" - G. F. Handel, ed. Hal Hopson, Jenson
Publications, #433-07010

"Great Lord Go! Thy Kingdom Shall Endure" - G. F. Handel, arr. John
Carlton, Theodore Presser #312-41209

"Sing a New Song" - Michael Haydn, arr. Hal Hopson, Harold Flammer, # D-5306

"Lonesome Valley" - arr. Gilbert Martin, Hinshaw Music, #HMC-476

You might take a look at a recent publication of mine-"Christmas
Triptych" - three SAB chorals for the season published by CanticaNOVA
Publications.See their site at

May I suggest a wonderful two-part mixed piece? It is rewarding enough
that my advanced choirs like it, but it works for beginners, too.

All Things Work Together For Good, by John Carter

Also look at:
Bless Us With Your Love
Mozart, arr. Douglas Wagner

1) Check out the SAB listing on the Choralist
2) When you go to your music store, look for pieces
that are marked SAB, rather than 3-part Mixed. You
will find some suitable things there. My experience
was that I found more sacred literature than secular
things that I could use (not counting the pop and
musical stuff).
3) Some people have suggested using SSAB literature.
I found this a less than satisfactory solution,
particularly if the tessitura for the altos is low.
But hey, give it a try.
4) For some things, I have resorted to purchasing
SATB pieces and teaching the three parts. I have
done this because, with all the good things that I
have found, I have not found pieces with the substance
and length of SATB literature. The SAB stuff tends to
be shorter, not having the craft of quality SATB
things. Much of the SAB that I researched I found to
be simplistic in craft (lots of repetition or really
simple forms). So I figured that I would look at SATB
scores and adapt them for my choir.
It's been tough selecting great literature this
year, particularly when I could do six and eight part
music last year. In a small school, graduating a good
crop of guys (in our case, six great singers) can
change one's entire program.

Good luck to you.

Mozart, "luci care"
Mozart, "Se lontan, del mio"
Mozart "Ecco, quel fiero istante"
In all 3 the bass line is essentially middle c to the octave below
These 3 pieces are published separately by National Music Publishers. I
think they are also
published as a set called "Three Nocturnes" by Broude.
Monteverdi's set "Scherzi Musicali" might serve you well - some are
better-suited than others but
all are useful. Publihsed by Kalmus and possibly others - check Musica and
Choralnet repertoire

Try "Seek the Highest" by Vincent Persichetti. I think it's published by
Elkan-Vogel, but may be out of print.
The Buxtehude "In dulci jubilo" is a good seasonal piece, with 2 strings and
Keith Reas
Alexandria Choral Society

Thomas Rinn

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